My Mommy’s Tote: Way more than a pop-up board book

I generally forego reviewing baby and kid products that have little more going for them than cute. Given that we’re all about the time-saving, problem-solving hack and not the awwww factor most products I get pitched don’t make it past my inbox. But when My Mommy’s Tote (Workman Publishing) arrived, I was overcome with delight in spite of myself.

Amazon describes My Mommy’s Tote as an "interactive gift" and a "die-cut cornucopia." To call it a book somehow doesn’t do it justice. It has the sturdy feel of a board book, but it’s designed to mimic the fun of exploring Mommy’s purse and finding all sorts of exotic treasures. The design is amazing, and the details are clever (check out the "No whining" button on the front). There are all sorts of removable pieces, including Mommy’s laptop (nice), a wallet with credit cards, and a wipe-off board. Lots of stuff to open, spin, flip, and manipulate. Dang cute.

From the same author: My Granny’s Purse and My Grandpa’s Briefcase.

Win it! You’ve got to see this for yourself. I’ll send a copy of My Mommy’s Tote to one random commenter who answers the following question:

What’s the most useful kid-wrangling item you keep in your purse, bag or pocket?

At the moment, mine would be chocolate-dipped Altoids. The ultimate distraction, let me tell you.

I’ll pick a winner on Friday 12/14 at 5pm PST!


  1. Emily says

    Honestly, my Ipod with video capabilities. I download a show or video that they love, and when I need them to quiet down, give them each an ear plug and let them go at it.

  2. says

    Once when I couldn’t find a pen (my usual standby) I let my daughter color with an old lipstick. I’m sure the other parents in that particular waiting room were thrilled at the example I set.

  3. Sylvia says

    Ha- I have a 6.5 month old boy, so anything made of cardboard will work just dandy. But, of course, my keys are the ultimate most marvelous thing in the universe!

  4. jessica says

    I keep a toy that she only gets to see when we are out and about…seems like a new toy each time she sees it!

  5. April says

    I try to keep a picture book that she does not normally get to see in my bag. If all else fails she loves my keys

  6. says

    Ohhh pick me! My best wrangling device is food. He isn’t picky- but his favorites are cheese crackers and goldfish.

  7. Amanda says

    My cell phone (with outgoing calls disabled) can buy me a solid 10 minutes of peace and quiet from my 14 month old. Car keys used to be popular, but not anymore. Paper and pen also work, but only when I can supervise. Kleenexes are fun for him to tear up, or I unfold it and put it on his head for a quick round of peek-a-boo.

  8. Lisa R. says

    I have a board book, an only-when-we’re-out toy, and a snack, but the only thing guaranteed to effectively wrangle are my car keys.

  9. Ursula says

    My iPhone loaded with episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and snacks. Those two items (together or seperate) can save us from a meltdown in almost any situation. :)

  10. Julie says

    My son’s young enough that we can get by with cheerios and look-alikes of grown-up items (like a keychain that looks like mine, since he can’t have y keys while I’m driving). I’m excited to see what some of the parents of older kids have to say, though!

  11. Trisha says

    dumdum suckers, she LOVES them. And If I can find banana or some other not red/blue/purple color, the better.
    Also I let her look through my wallet at all the “membership” type cards- video store etc.

  12. says

    I guess I should add that the trail mix doubles as a game. “Find me three raisins.” “How many different things can you find?” or her favorite “Eat all the chocolate chips before mommy takes them.”

  13. Coco Bean says

    Most of the items mentioned in previous comments are items that at one time or another, were used for useful “kid-wrangling” with our child.

    But the item currently being used in my purse is a digital camera. Mesmerizes for a pretty good period of time.

  14. says

    My trick is “anything new”. It can be absolutely anything: a balled up piece of paper, a doodad, or a thingamabobby – as long as its something she hasn’t seen before. Keeps her entertained for at least 5 or 10 minutes!! :-)

    Sigh. :-\

  15. says

    I created a bead box for my 2 year old daughter… it has big (but much smaller than typical “toddler” wooden lacing beads) glass beads and smaller pony beads and a couple of strings from a bead necklace making kit for older children. She’ll sit for at least 10 minutes or more fiddling with those beads and putting them on and off the string. I keep it in my purse and she only gets to play with it when I’m in extreme need of her to be quiet and occupied.

  16. says

    When I need to get some shopping done and my 2.5 yr old does not want to be in the cart, I pull out the IPod Nano. He loves it and loves listening to the music. It lets me get Christmas shopping done or grocery shopping without having to rush. It works perfect every time!

  17. says

    Mine has GOT to be my cell phone. My daughter loves to “call” her daddy or her mimi or her pops on it. There have been times when it wasn’t locked and she actually DID call! Now, when the cell phone rings she says, “Oh! It’s MY phone!” :o)

  18. says

    My ipod nano… it’s not a fancy one with video or anything, but my 2 yr old loves to put the earbuds in his ears and listen — it keeps him quiet in nice restaurants!

    Please Please Thinking Random Thoughts!!!

  19. says

    I keep balloons in my purse. If the kids start getting unruly at the grocery store for instance, I whip one out blow it up and they squeal with delight. Don’t worry I am right there the whole time monitoring.

  20. Cindy says

    My favorite busy-maker is large cards cut out of construction paper with yarn to thread through. My older child loves it.

  21. sara says

    It would be my keys….Hands Down! But I couldn’t tell you how many times he’s lost them! My husband FINALLY came up with the idea to make him his OWN keychain with some old keys! Can we say DUH? I guess parenting a toddler takes it’s toll on one’s mind sometimes!

  22. Andrea says

    I keep a travel size Magnadoodle in my bag. It keeps all of my kids busy, from the 3yo to the 13yo. Hangman, anyone?

  23. peggy says

    It has to be my phone. The camera is her favorite thing!
    I’ve always carried crayons for distraction, but the phone wins over anything else!

  24. says

    For my daughter, it’s a handful of index cards and a pen. When she’s in a drawing mood, I’ll let her go to town. But if she doesn’t want to wield the pen, she’ll usually be entertained by my doodles as she tries to guess what I’m drawing. I expect as she gets older we’ll get into games with the cards, like Hangman or the Dot game.

    The cards are also handy for making notes to myself – I just have to remember to pull out the ones I’ve scribbled on before I give them to her to scribble on!

  25. heather says

    I keep my digital camera in my purse. We can take pics of each other, or look through all the old pics.

  26. says

    I always carry a half dozen or so crayons in one of those snack-size (small) ziploc bags. I also try to have with me one or two new coloring pages. But if I happen not to have a printout with me, I can always wrangle a piece of paper, which, along with the crayons, keeps my toddler happy for a while.

  27. cait says

    Well my little one is almost 3 months old, so stuff from my purse doesn’t really work just yet. But he loves loves loves to chew on my finger, a clean one of course.

    It’s great to read all these ideas though, I’ll be using them soon!

  28. AmyS says

    For the preschooler, pen & paper or the polly pockets that live in my purse. For the 13mth-old, the steel mint box with anything that will make it rattle or a small mirror (he loves to kiss the baby). They both love the cell phone!

  29. says

    Tough call between my iPhone loaded with Wallace & Gromit videos, not to mention YouTube capabilities, and the Kipiis bib clip (make a bib out of a paper towel, napkin, whatever). Both get used regularly.

  30. says

    Oh, my kids would love to be allowed to play with Mommy’s computer!

    For us, it’s jelly beans, a rubber band or my iPod shuffle. Sometimes all three!

  31. cs white says

    Really, nothing. I purposely carry a small purse and there’s not a lot in there. I’ve tried letting him play with my cell phone, wallet, chapstick, etc. but he just throws it all overboard! Maybe the book would give me some good ideas! ;)

  32. Gail Luther says

    My 5-year olds sons enjoy looking at my brag book of old pictures of themselves. They always drag it out whenever we are waiting somewhere. They also enjoy a small calculator that I keep in my purse.

  33. Anne-Marie says

    Snacks or board books (certain ones saved for outings) usually hold the attention of my 19-month-old twins, until they both decide they HAVE to have the same book/ball/ whatever. Feeling inferior to you technical wizards downloading photos & videos for them on your Ipods!

  34. says

    My latest “trick” is mini canisters of playdoh. It keeps my 2.5 year old entertained while we enjoy dinner.
    As for the 4 month old? Chili’s coasters are doing the trick these days!

    What is the age recommendation for the Mommy’s tote? Amazon says 9-11 and somehow that doesn’t seem quite right…

  35. says

    Keys are always a given to calm down the antsy toddler but with 2 year old twins you gotta have two so my back up is a tube of chapstick for my daughter and the keys for my son. Then both kids are happy and Mommy can finish what she was doing.

  36. AK says

    Fingerpuppets. Hardly take any room. I use different voices for each. If I’m otherwise busy, she can play with them like mini dolls.

  37. says

    Definitely the best kid wrangler in my purse is my cell phone. It can play music, take pictures, you can play games and call people. It keeps all my kids distracted from 4 to 15. The only problem is the fight over who gets it when… sigh…

  38. says

    For my 3.5 yr old boy, it’s a tub of Playdoh. For my 1.5 yr old daughter, it’s a snack bag of Trader Joe’s chocolate toucans. Mmmm. Or maybe that’s for me? I forget…

  39. Amy says

    So many great ideas here.
    My toddler daughter still loves the container for travel size wipes-I’ll put a sheet of stickers, or kleenex or even some recipts in there and she finds much joy in the new treasure – once she gets it open!

  40. says

    This is kinda funny, my cousin gave me this bicycle reflector (it’s about 5 1/2 inches long, diamond-shaped and a silvery white color) when my youngest was born to distract him while I got my haircut and I’ve kept it in my diaper bag ever since. He’s five now, but the reflector lives on as a “magical” toy that holds my 8 month old twin boys’ attention! I can’t believe I’ve kept it this long and that it still serves it’s purpose of entertaining the kids long after the other toys have hit the floor!

  41. Lisa J. says

    I try to avoid handing over my keys to my 17 month old, but I will do so if it stops the whining! His favorite thing in my purse is a small flashlight (turned on, of course). I just have to shield my eyes from time to time!

  42. says

    Heh, I saw that in a bookshop over here the other day, only of course the title was “My Mummy’s Handbag” instead. :o)

    I just give Orion the whole handbag and he will happily prance around with it dangling from his arm for ages. It gives other people in the vicinity a laugh as well!

  43. says

    For my 4 month old, it’s a pacifier or a set of links. If he’s tired, the paci is great. If he’s bored, he loves to chew on the links.

  44. says

    I keep a bunch of thick Popsicle sticks (medical tongue thingies which the name escapes me) in my purse. my 2.5 yr lil’ guy is endlessly fascinated with them like building, etc. it doesn’t take up much room in the bag!

  45. says

    I give my 20-month-old daughter my own winter gloves. She puts them on her hands and flaps them around like they are giant foam fingers and generally cracks herself up while exclaiming “hand! hand!”

  46. Kim-Anh says

    Snacks seem to be the only thing that works! I try to keep the keys for absolute emergencies as I’m convinced my 2yo will figure out how to start the car using our remote starter. :-)

  47. says

    I would have to say that my cell phone is my best “toy”. The kids love to listen to the different ring tones and my new phone has video and picture taking capabilities which the kids love. They enjoy looking at themselves in pictures.

  48. hil says

    I have a palm sized bouncy ball that lights up. Great for grocery stores, outside walking around the neighborhood, and houses without toys. For restaurants, I bring a board book with the tabs that you open (all different kinds)…not destructive and quieter.

  49. says

    my celphone with the buttons locked. If I am feeling brave or desperate I will let my 4 year old use the camera on it to take pictures.

  50. says

    We’d be lost without a pen and paper. My kids are young enough that I don’t normally trust them with an ink pen, so when I pull one out of my purse it seems like a special treat.

  51. Lisa says

    Without a doubt…. stickers and those little dum dum suckers. I hoard them. I never buy them though. I just pick them up at the bank, dry cleaners, etc.

  52. Jess says

    My son is only 4 months old so I’ve been keeping a rattle and a small stuffed animal in there for emergencies. Surprisingly, he seems to be most amused when I put a burp cloth in his lap and he practices picking it up and letting go again.

  53. Stephanie says

    My son is young, so it doesn’t take much, but he loves his Sophie the Giraffe chew toy. And now that his dexterity has improved, he can squeeze it to make it squeak over and over….

  54. says

    My keys, my cane (nothing entertains a waiting room of people like a 2 year old walking with a cane adjusted for a 5’4″ person), a roll of tape. If all else fails, I let her have a field day with my wallet. That’s always a winner (and a disaster).

  55. Peter says

    A word of caution about old cell phones:

    If you’re using an old phone that just has no service (i.e. still has the batteries in it and would otherwise be functional), those phones still can dial 911. It’s much kinder to the nerves of your local police dispatcher friends if you take the battery out, or make sure the phone is really, really, broken.

  56. Heather G says

    I keep pieces of ribbons in my purse – short enough so they can not harm themselves. All 3 of my little ones love them. They wave, chew on them, etc.

  57. Melanie says

    My 9 month old is fascinated by a keychain flashlight that I have…squeeze it and the light comes on. It’s not super bright so it doesn’t hurt his eyes, and it’s made of a squishable plastic which he LOVES to chew on (under my supervision). Such fun! He would adore this “book” and so would I, as then maybe he would stop rooting around in my actual purse! :-)

  58. Christel says

    Totally low tech: my car and house keys. The baby loves to chew them, and his older sister loves to wear the lanyard they’re on as a necklace. I just have to make sure I’m well out of range of the car or they end up using the remote to unlock the car and open the doors.

  59. Laura Hetfield says

    GUM..sounds too simple huh? my daughter will just about anything for a piece of gum…she can be in the middle of a melt down and all I have to do is offer a piece of gum and amazingly enough….she calms down!.. I use it for everything..Emma if you_____ I’ll give you a piece of gum…..

  60. heli says

    Whatever’s handy: hairbrush, keys, cellphone, chapstick…lately I have a little fish tub toy in there (not sure how it ended up in my purse) so that’s always good for 5min of “glug glug! glug glug!” (that’s what a fish says, in case you didn’t know…)

  61. Cheri says

    cell phone, hair thingy, duckie garbage bag holder top, mints from a restaurant we’ve been to recently….

  62. says

    Our extra mobile phone and my carabiner watch. One works for the 1 year old, one works for the 6 year old. And then they swap :-).

  63. Bethany says

    Smarties. They don’t have the sticky-ness of a sucker, the melting-ness of chocolate, and they each get their own little package – what kid doesn’t like that?

  64. Joshua says

    Hands-down, its the keys! Mine have a carabiner and a nylon strap with buckle (highjacked from a shopping cart) as part of the deal. Solid MINUTES of quality occupation!

  65. Jennifer says

    An old travel size asprin bottle with what ever I could find that would make it rattle. My son ( and a few of my friends) always called my bag the Mary Poppins bag, never knew what I would pull out of it…lol

  66. Emily Mencken says

    Strangely enough, it’s my mini bottle of Purell. My daughter who can’t stand having her hair washed is a fanatic about cleaning her hands!

  67. says

    Mine is a cheap-but-sturdy sparkley necklace. I can hand it to him in the car or fasten it to a grocery cart and get at least 5 minutes of distraction.

  68. says

    I always have one of those crayon 4-packs from CPK or the Fish Market or other kid-friendly restaurant in my diaper bag. I may not always have paper… but you can always find paper napkins if you’re desperate.

  69. says

    We have the granny’s purse book and it is amazing! My daughter loves it and so do the rest of my kids who are too big to admit it, so they just offer to read it to their sister.

    I carry chapstick in my purse. Trinity will sit and apply it over and over and over until she can’t stand it anymore and eats it, like a tootsie pop! It gives us lots of quiet time during church or in the car. She is a mess from sticking her finger way down in it and spreading it all over her hands and face. But she is happy and QUIET.

    You sure do have contacts! I would love to review cutsie products and practical ones.

  70. says

    I keep a tablet of stickers in my bag: from the dollar store – *tons* of little stickers that take quite some time to get off the page. Can be a total time-consumer.

  71. Ticia says

    I keep a small bag of toys like dinosaurs in my purse and they only get to play with it at restaurants and such stuff. The bag changes materials from time to time, right now it’s knights and pirates. A great stock up place is go by Michael’s and get the “Toob of _________” using your 40% off coupon, with that it’s only about $3-4, and you have hours of entertainment for a small child.

  72. Leyla says

    i keep a handful of little lollipops (dumdums) in my purse. i try to refrain from giving them to my 2-year-old until the situation is desperate. it usually buys me just enough time to make it through the checkout line when he is starting to have a meltdown.

  73. says

    It would have to be a yummy trail mix that I enjoy, too – first I’ll offer all the healthier offerings (nuts, sesame sticks, etc) and then when that fails, the M&Ms. :)

  74. Corinne says

    I try to always have crayons (keep the ones that restaurants throw away after a meal) in a baggie or a pocket of my bag. If those don’t work, we look at pictures on my cell phone. With a 2 year old, this almost always works.

  75. says

    The most useful kid-wrangling item in my purse is my Pocket PC. It has games, pictures, is a phone, plays music….anything to keep a very very active 2 year old mesmerized for a few minutes while I find his toy car he dropped in the car or get him some milk!

  76. says

    My video iPod. We used it on a rather long car trip once to entertain our daughter (yes, we are the only family in America that doesn’t have a DVD player or a minivan!).

  77. Susan says

    Again, my daughters, ages 6,3 and 1, love(d) playing with my keys. To make sure I don’t lose them, I hook them to the cart or a button hole on their coat with a karabiner. The cell phone comes in 2nd, and my day planner which has photos of them on the cover, comes in 3rd.

  78. leslie says

    My one year old always seems to gravitate towards one of my wallets…so I usually let him drool to his little hearts content if it keep him happy! For my 30 month old….he loves keys. Both good standbys that I usually have with me!

  79. Aimee says

    My daughter loves to play with a small calculator that I carry around. It is a great way to keep her attention for awhile.

  80. j kerr says

    Play-Doh with a piece of wax paper tucked inside! You just put the wax paper down no matter where you are and plop out the doh and there ya go!

  81. Crystal says

    Stickers! We don’t go anywhere without our little “sticker” book and several sheets of stickers. This activity can keep my toddler quiet for 20 minutes at a time.

  82. says

    I keep a clean empty baby food jar full of Gerber puffs. Not only does it work as a toy (it can be shaken like a rattle, pushed, banged around, ect) but when he needs a quick snack open it up and dump it out!! I also keep cut up celery when possible as its a great teether, and its a good tide over when a bottle isn’t handy and the puffs are too messy.

  83. says

    I have a small leather brag book filled with pictures of my kids from the time they were little until now. My kids all love looking at it…even the 9 year old!

  84. Kate says

    This is a great question — I love to keep the bag stocked with go-to distractors! I vote for a little picture book or my cel phone camera, for both my guys, ages 1 and 3! By the way, they would love this book.

  85. Catherine says

    UNO cards! They’re low-tech, and work for my 2- & 6-year-old boys on so many levels. Stacking, sorting, building, matching, and sometimes, even playing the actual game!

  86. Tonya says

    I have an old key fob from a junk yard that lights up and everything. It is attached to a little stretchy wrist band with old keys and she loves to think it is like mine.

  87. Uly says

    A metal spoon. I always have some anyway for when we eat our lunch – and in a pinch, if it’s clean (it’s always clean), they can use it to make mirrors and see themselves upside down, to pretend it’s a microphone, to make believe they’re feeding dolls, to make believe the spoon *is* a doll – oh, and, if necessary, to eat some soygurt.

  88. says

    Cheddar Bunnies crackers. Put them on her stroller tray and she either eats them or makes them go “Boing boing boing boing”

  89. says

    For my older daughter a small packet of pencils and a notepad.

    My younger daughter is fascinated by beads so I keep a small purse with some cheap bead necklaces.

    For both of them – bandaids, I keep a tin of bandaids for emergencies in my bag. If I need them to entertain each other I just whip out the bandaid tin and they stick them all over each other.

  90. Teresa says

    In the summer, I keep a bag with a few pieces of sidewalk chalk with me. This is nice if we’re out for a walk and stop to talk to someone. For indoors, I keep crayons in my purse.

  91. Jeanie Ripton says

    My cell phone never fails in a pinch…but I also always keep a little bag of cheerios and a favorite teether.

  92. Maureen says

    Pennies. My son loves to count them and collect them. Plus, we can use one to ride Sandy the horse at Meijer.

  93. Karen says

    Cell phone, although they have ruined a few phones it NEVER fails to keep them occuppied when a meltdown is about to start. My toddler pretends to make calls and my infant likes to suck on it.

  94. Becca says

    My little girl is nearly 9 months old, and Cheerios are like a miracle drug with her…they’ll cure any problem!

  95. says

    gum. pen and paper usually work fine. Practically anything in my purse will give me about 20 mins of almost still/quite time in public places.

  96. Lainey says

    Depends on the age….for my 8.5yr old daughter – a blank journal and a package of colored pencils. She can write stories, draw, doodle, pass notes to me…whatever she wants to do with them.

    For my almost 2 year old – a 6 year old cell phone with the battery removed. She makes calls and “talks” to Mommy and Daddy on HER phone. Especially since she somehow seems to KNOW that the toy phones are different.

  97. Lainey says

    Depends on the age….for my 8.5yr old daughter – a blank journal and a package of colored pencils. She can write stories, draw, doodle, pass notes to me…whatever she wants to do with them.

    For my almost 2 year old – a 6 year old cell phone with the battery removed. She makes calls and “talks” to Mommy and Daddy on HER phone. Especially since she somehow seems to KNOW that the toy phones are different.

  98. bonberri says

    I keep crayons in an old Altoids tin. I also keep a small toy (smaller than an egg) from her collection of ephemera. I rotate it regularly so that it’s ‘new’.

  99. Stephanie T. says

    Cheerios and keys. Those always work. Of course in a magical world I would always have a live cat in my “tote”. She LOVES cats.

  100. Kimberly says

    The most useful item I keep in my diaper bag/purse right now is my iPod. We received it as a gift from Grandma last year to keep our 2 year old occupied during adult time out. We have the entire first seasons of “Backyardigans” and “Blue Clues” downloaded on it! I just turn it on and he’s completely immersed!

  101. says

    My 20 month old is obsessed with Chocolate, and I keep a few m&m’s on hand. Those, along with her pacifier and blanket, she is good to go!

  102. carmie says

    Unfortunately, my cell phone. My 20 month old already broke one, so this one is an ugly freebie that I don’t care about.

  103. Diana S. says

    I never leave without the crayons and a small pad of paper– works for both the 2yo and the 4yo.

  104. Tabitha K. says

    My iPod Nano with the High School Musical soundtrack downloaded into it and LOTS of Stickers. Walgreens has little books 2/$1 and they are a must have item

  105. Liz says

    Anything that isn’t hazardous is fair game for my 14mo. son. His favorites are scraps of paper, my sun glasses (as long as he gets to pull them off of my face a few times), and of course keys and cell phone. A plastic straw always works wonders, especially when teething is involved!

  106. Kim says

    For my seven month old: a pair of baby socks. You know the cat from the comic strip “Mutts” who loves chewing on his little pink sock? My son chews on socks with the same enthusiasm.

  107. says

    I keep a few die-cast Thomas & Friends trains in the van. They always come to restaurants, dr visits, and anywhere my boys need to stay in one place and be relatively quiet.

  108. Reeva says

    I keep a beanie baby with bells wrapped around its neck. He’ll be occupied for a while after I give him that.

  109. says

    My favorite purse toy is a hairbursh with a mirror in the handle that folds up. It is like three toys in one!

    Also, my son loves to look at pictures (of himself) on my cellphone.

  110. says

    Wikki Sticks. Pure waxy, bendy, colorful fun. We discovered them when my kids got them at a local restaurant…instead of the standard crayons and coloring sheet. Total entertainment!

  111. Croowl says

    Yesterday, it was an envelope with a cellophane window. Makes a great puppetand peek-a-boo tool for my 2.5 year old. I’ve also given him an old receipt to be his shopping list.

  112. Miriam says

    Gotta be the matchbox cars…and goldfish crackers…gee, I’m pretty generic, huh? BUT, my three kids under three would LOVE the book, so I should get it since my current stuff is so boring!

  113. says

    Froggie. Not really a hack, it’s just his favorite toy, and every time it comes out, he is happy!

    (Froggie is also the reason we can drive in the car without him screaming his fool head off) :)

  114. says

    I have two kid wrangling items in my rather large purse…the first is my cell phone. It will do for a little while. The second is a little backpack leash that looks so cute and isn’t too obvious that I can slip on my daughter and hold on tight.

  115. says

    I find that anything sticky works. I keep scotch tape or stickers of various characters in the diaper bag….and nothing is is more amusing to a toddler of youngster than to play the “find the clear tape game.”

    You tell the little one that you are going to play with sticky tape and then having several pieces pre-cut you place them on random spots like your noe, their nose, a hand, a knee, the belly and then they have to find every piece in order to get a sticker.

    It is really inmportant thet you lightly press the tape down.

    It works for my lttle ones and we used it in my two year old class room fro those in-between down times

  116. says

    Two emergency items: my favourite beads, which went into the bag when I realised they are also my one-year-old favourite beads, and a wind-up flashlight (no batteries) that can be set to flash on a gentle light. Each buy at least five minutes…

  117. says

    I don’t bribe with food, which leaves me with toys. So I try to keep a new Matchbox-type car in my diaper bag at all times – sometimes I’ll also have one of those thin “early reader” paperback books also.

  118. carrie says

    Ooh – my magic bag of mommy tricks always includes a baggie (or snack trap cup if I’m organized) of Annie’s Bunny Crackers, organic dried raisins, cherries, cranberries, blueberries. As soon as she hears the rattle of the ‘treats’ in the bag or cup, she settles down. The other thing I usually have is one of those cardboard coffee cup sleeves from Starbucks. She finds them quite fascinating.

  119. Jenna says

    I emptied out my purse last night and found two blocks, a teddy bear, and a container of cheerios. The cell phone is also a great distraction, especially if it rings or vibrates.

  120. Paul says

    It’s sort of a combination of several above, and perhaps frightening to some, but I use my iPhone as an entertainment device. It has the video capabilities of an iPod and (thanks to some hacking) several very cool, kid-friendly, third-party apps like games.

  121. Melanie Till says

    Isn’t anything in the “mom’s” purse exciting for the little ones? Anything I pull out, or my daughter pulls out….she loves. She loves my cell phone, or my keys. I usally ALWAYS have some sort of snack, a binky, and when those don’t work….I give her a pen and some paper.

  122. says

    Of all things, my son loves to play with a little tape measure I have in my purse. I put it in there months ago when I was looking for some baskets, and wanted to make sure I was buying the right size. I’d forgotten it was in there until he pulled it out one day!

  123. Tiffany says

    A cell phone. Its charged so it lights up & makes noise. But its not hooked up to a service plan so it won’t call out.

  124. Marnie A. Bodapaty says

    2 things:
    1. Crackers (graham, cheese, doesn’t matter as long as she can hold them and munch).
    2. A set of I-don’t-know-what-these-open keys. We all have them-old keys that we can’t figure out what they’re for. Throw ‘em on a keychain and voila- instant entertainment. (Note: the baby toy keys sold in the store will not work this well. Trust me.)

  125. Chickenyeah says

    For my 3 yo it is his own “wallet” a cheap-o velcro wallet filled with play money, credit cards (hotel room keys), stickers and some coins. Not only is this an endless play thing but he can also participate in the shopping/dining experience.

  126. Nikosmom says

    I always keep a cheap calculator in my bag. My son loves to press buttons and starts recognizing numbers. Its a quiet activity that he can be entertained by himself when I am busy, but its also an opportunity for me to teach him something when we are at the doctor’s waiting room.

    Other hits he has found in my handbag are a mini-slinky and a handkerchief.

  127. Cecily T says

    I keep a special toy (a stuffed cow with a ‘shaker’ in it) in my purse for my 5-month-old. She only sees it when we are out. Also a pacifier these days. In the diaper bag we keep those little tub toys since they are small. Also, they are good for chewing on b/c if she spits on them, you can wipe them. Great ideas on here. Love the trail mix idea and the ziploc with interesting things. :)

  128. Carrie says

    Either my ipod for my 3 year old, or an extra set of keys for my baby! Funny how the distractions have to get more complicated as they get older!

  129. STARFISHBLUE says

    Snack trap with cheerios, goldfish, or chips (cornflakes)

    squeeze flashlight

    Conversation and a good game of find the object.

    I found explaining to my son how I expect him to act and what I have for him works best. Has to be done before you get to where you are going.

  130. says

    I always keep finger puppets in my bag. Never fails to amuse my 17 month old! I keep an eye out for new ones all the time so I can rotate them. Had a success with hand knitted ones from Peru, but was thinking about buying those more expensive ones I keep seeing that have artists (van gogh complete with removeable ear!) and psychologists, they’re very funny!

  131. Shannon says

    I have the standards- book, crayons, and snacks. However her favorite “toy” in my purse in a small tape measure. She pulls the tape out and can go fishing from her highchair in a restaurant or in her car seat, and the button to reel in back in is easy for her to work. I didn’t have it with me one day & when I needed a distraction for her I vowed to make sure I always had it with me!!! Who knew something so ordinary could be so entertaining??

  132. Sam says

    My bright pink Razr phone – with the keys unlocked – so my 2 yr old can make the “music” – granted she may have called Guam or some other distant land – but it gives me a few minutes of peace to go over the shopping list. My apologies to those in my Phone Book for the odd calls they may have received.

  133. Melissa D says

    I always keep some kind of treat in my purse in case we need a little snack on the way home for supper. I also have a thermometer to take my daughters temp when the daycare calls to say she has a fever. Their thermometer is always wrong. My daughters favorite thing in my purse to play with has always been my cell phone. Thank goodness I can lock the keys.

  134. says

    Our crayon roll! I keep the crayons stocked and a small notepad. That way if were out and about and my screamer starts in…I can grab the crayons and he’s happy for a while.

    Of course thats in addition to the packages of individually wrapped animal crackers, shakers, toy cars, and various other toys that have made it in the bag!

  135. Melissa says

    Matchbox cars. My 3 year old daughter loves cars, so especially a “new” one (picked up a garage sale) will fascinate her for hours. My 11 month old thinks they taste good too.

  136. Anonymous says

    We got the kids an ipod shuffle that they can listen to in the car or out shopping. It really helped to calm down my (then 3yr old )son and give him something to listen to while I grocery shop.

    I still owe my life to a stranger on a plane several years ago who pulled out a small plastic gumby toy from his pocket to entertain my two year old daughter on a flight from Chicago to Sacramento!

  137. Mary Anna says

    My PDA – it’s indestructible and my company pays for it. It has a notes option where you can hand-write on the screen – instant doodle pad! And, my 3-year-old likes the bubble breaker game on it. Sometimes I even let him use the camera. If it gets banged up – I just submit it for a new one. Now if I could just get rid of the Matchbox cars, Thomas trains, M&Ms, Cheetos … (I’ve nick-named my purse “Mary Poppins”).

  138. Laura McMullan says

    Crayons. we use them ALL the time. They can distract for at least 10 min. while I think of something else to do.

  139. Dan says

    My daughter still does best with pacifier (pow) and bunny, my son can be amused by just about anything so we can play “I Spy” or make up a game on the spot. I’d recommend “I Spy”

  140. Eileen Davenport says

    My cell phone with a video of my daughter dancing on it. She’ll watch it over and over again!

  141. Nathalie says

    Tic tacs- the kids think getting 3 is a treat, they make noise when you shake them, and you can change things up by buying different colors.

  142. Vivian says

    Compact mirror, my makeup case (yikes!), or a box of crayons we got from a restaurant. Any of those will keep my son occupied for a while. He loves to wear my lipstick.

  143. Susanne says

    This is not too exciting, but I keep a secret snack stash in my purse, fruit gummies or teddy grahams…my girls never get them so they are so excited when I ship them out!! Thanks!!

  144. says

    My daughter LOVES the small travel size aqua-doodle book I keep in my bag. Coloring the pictures with water keeps her busy for long outings (and no crayon eating)! If the pen dries out, we can always fill it up with water from her sippy cup.

  145. Jennifer Marshall says

    Nothing beats a dump truck and a Thomas character for my son! except if it’s a lollipop.

  146. Evelyn says

    My secret weapon is a little measuring tape, with a button to auto-retract. My daughter loves to pull the tape out (makes a little clicking noise) and push the button to reel it back in.

  147. says

    In a boring waiting room, we grab a brochure off of the rack and hand the tot a pen from my bag. Color away baby!

    Once in a room at the doctor’s office, I hand her a crayon to color on the paper that is lining the examination table. Pens are bad if they go off the paper, crayons wipe off easily.

    Shredding the paper is harmless fun too.

  148. gigi says

    My 9 month old enjoys playing my cell phone and my keys. I really should start carrying something else around more baby-friendly, though, I suppose!

  149. gigi says

    My 9 month old enjoys playing with my cell phone and my keys. I really should start carrying something else around more baby-friendly, though, I suppose!

  150. Gretchen H. says

    So simple… a small tupperware container of cheerios or goldfish keep my 10-mo old busy – it doubles as a rattle/shaker and a snack!

  151. Kacy says

    This looks awesome! My current method of persuasion is food! Anything, really. As long as I have some type of granloa bar, or cracker or goldfish, my 2 year-old will be right next to me :)

  152. Amy says

    My 8 month old daughter loves to chew on anything that is laminated, so the laminated calendar card attached to my work badge works every time. I just make sure to wipe it with a wipe before giving it to her.

  153. Jennifer says

    My little peanut is only one, so a little container of organic cereal Os does the trick for her. She likes to keep one in each hand and then lets me feed her one at a time.

  154. says

    A rotating selection. My kids are 4 and 3, girl and boy. 1. Hair ties and Matchbox cars. 2. Keychain-sized flashlights. 3. Keychain-sized Rubik’s Cubes. 4. Palm-sized spiral pads (I always have pens or crayons).

    About #5: You ought to see how the waitstaff react when my kids whip out their pads and take THEIR orders!


  155. JewelsHud says

    I would have to say this tiny little tape measure that I keep in my purse is the ultimate toy for my son!

  156. Tara says

    either a piece of gum or my cell phone with the keys locked…or sometimes I call a family member who won’t mind to hear a few minutes of her chatter!

  157. Megan says

    I keep a retractable cloth measuring tape (like that used for sewing) in my purse. My 15-month-old LOVES to pull the tape out and then push the button to retract it.

  158. jill says

    I once kept my daughter occupied for an hour in a doctor’s exam room with a pink hilighter and 4 pennies!

  159. says

    I’ll echo what so many have said: my phone. My 3-year-old has gotten very good (okay, not that good) at taking pictures. I don’t have any scary work-related numbers stored in my phone, so the worst that happens is she calls a friend or family member by accident, and I get to overhear a hilarious conversation.

  160. Shawn K says

    My kids 2 and 5 love the pens with many colors of ink. They can draw and draw and draw and be happy for quite some time…through a haircut for me, through a church service, waiting in line anywhere, etc. Pretty simple, but it works for me!! =)

  161. Kate E. says

    Cheerios and my trusty hip carrier. My daughter is still small enough that I can just pop her in the hip carrier and continue on with what I was doing while she gets to be close to mama and see what I am doing.

  162. Glennen says

    I love the iPod idea! Anyway, I think this is boring totally non-hack, but I keep those ABC link together letters and board books in my ever growing purse for my 6 month old.

  163. Betsy Miller says

    ME ME ME…..Pick ME!

    To quiet my little wriggle’r, I let her put on “Mommy’s lipstick” which is really just a tube of Bigelow Lip Tint. Also, my Razr phone can engage her for a few.